art work by John Ceprano
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Relationship Breakdown

Some interpersonal disputes result in a breakdown of the relationship and ending it altogether. There may have been repeated conflicts – one too many – or one that is so egregious that there is no way to save the impact on trust and other of our values. In many cases, such an outcome is devastating and a huge loss to both of us and even those around us. In other cases, the destructive way we continue to relate is evident and we tend to hold on long after the thin thread maintaining the connection has frayed.

It can be very hard to end relationships – even some that are destructive to our well-being. It might take a while before we acknowledge that things are too broken and accept a total parting of ways is a necessity to maintain our health and well-being.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog asks you to consider a dispute in which it occurs to you that ending the relationship is necessary as things have broken down beyond repair.

  • What happened with respect to the dispute you have in mind?
  • What more specifically occurred that has resulted in you thinking the relationship has broken down?
  • What did you initially like about the other person? What don’t you like now?
  • What are you afraid of if the relationship ends?
  • What else would not be good if the relationship ended?
  • What good could come of ending the relationship?
  • If the relationship continued what would have to happen to make it work?
  • How might you contribute to making it work, if you want it to?
  • What are you experiencing as you consider the possibility of the relationship ending?
  • What are you experiencing if you consider the relationship mending?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?
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Measured Responses in Conflict

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog considers that we do not always respond with grace and dignity – and we wish afterwards we had – when we are engaged in interpersonal disputes. Rather, at these times we often react and say things we regret. We, in so many words, step out of the person we want to be, and even get in our own way of trying to mend matters. For instance, having offended the person on the receiving end of our wrath, our overtures to resolve the dispute can often be experienced as too little too late, or even too soon!

Measuring responses in conflict – the title of this blog – refers to taking time to contemplate how and when to initiate the sort of conversation that will have a better chance of being effective. Measured then, means our response is careful, deliberate and well thought out.

For the questions below, consider a conflict situation that you want to mend with a measured approach – one in which you reacted in a counterproductive way.

  • What was the situation?
  • What did you say that you regret? How did you interact?
  • What led you to say that and in that way (in reference to the previous question)?
  • As you think about it more now, what was important to you about getting your point across?
  • What is the reconciliation message you want to give now?
  • How will you “be” when you deliver this message?
  • What will you be most measured about (careful, deliberate and thoughtful) in your words?
  • How will you be most careful, deliberate and thoughtful in the presentation of your message?
  • What, for you, will be the measurement that will reflect your success at the reconciliation message?
  • What do you think will be the measurement of your message’s success for the other person?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?
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Conflict Resolutions for 2019

I’d like to wish all of you the very best of health and happiness for the coming year. And may it be a peaceful one, too.

Here are this year’s resolutions for 2019. I have repeated many from last year because – I have to admit – I haven’t got them quite right, yet.

Warmest regards to you and yours and may your 2019 be wonderful in every way!

  • This year I will keep in my mind and in my heart that we are all in this together.
  • This year I will do what is within my ability to make the world a more peaceful place.
  • This year I will be grateful to those who teach me important lessons by, for instance, letting me know when I am not interacting with humility and dignity.
  • This year I will be kinder to myself and others, and be even more careful with others’ feelings.
  • This year I will cherish my family and my friends and colleagues even more.
  • This year I will not judge.
  • This year I will approach conflicts with grace and remain true to myself.
  • This year I will honour that others strive to be true to themselves, too.
  • This year I will open my heart and mind wider and with more curiosity.
  • This year I will celebrate our differences and take heart in the knowledge that we all have lots of room in our hearts to love more and to love deeply.

What are your conflict resolutions for this year?

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“Calling Out”

The expression “calling out”, when it comes to interpersonal conflict dynamics, refers to identifying someone’s bad behavior and by doing so letting her or him know our feelings about it. The words called out and why are the subject of today’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog.

If you have called someone out about something, the essential consideration will be about identifying what led you to this place. It’s often the case that our motivation comes from a deeply held value or need that the other person has threatened or challenged by her or his words, actions and attitude. Similarly, it might be that the person’s behaviour insulted and offended us, or another person we care about, or an opinion or subject about a matter very dear to us. Whatever the case, we cannot or do not want to refrain from letting the person know it’s simply not okay to say or do what they did.

If, on the other hand, you have been “called out” the shame, embarrassment and loss of face can be extremely difficult. The relationship with the other person is threatened (as it would be in the previous scenario); our sense of self and identity are undermined; and our emotional reactions have an impact on our resilience.

Consider these questions with respect to the above:

  • Consider one scenario when you called someone out. What was the context? And what did you say to the other person that may be referred to as calling her or him out?
  • What motivated you to say that? What were you feeling at the time about her or him?
  • How did the other person react?
  • What did calling out achieve?
  • What was the main message you were wanting to convey? What is most important to you about that message?
  • If you were to frame that message as a request instead, what would that request be?
  • If you have been “called out” by someone, consider one scenario when that occurred. What did the other person say? What impact did that have on you?
  • What was the main message she or he was conveying, as you heard it? What might have made that important to the other person?
  • If the person framed that message as a request, what might the request have been?
  • What purpose does calling out serve as the person calling out? What purpose does it serve as the person on the receiving end?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?
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Moving On After Conflict

For this week’s blog I am bringing back one that was popular last year. So, this one is from the archives (originally posted October 31, 2017):

The confusion and internal chaos that conflict can, at times, wreak on us accounts, in part, for the desire to move past it and get over it as soon as possible. Often we also want the other person to do so. On the other hand, there are times we might find we are disappointed when she or he moves on too soon.

We vary in our post-conflict reactions and these reactions differ for many reasons. They may depend on factors such as who the other person is, the situation, the degree of hurt we or they experience, our contribution, the outcome and so on.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog is an opportunity to consider your sensibilities post-conflict about a specific situation that you are having trouble moving on from.

  • What was the situation?
  • What seems to be making it challenging for you to move on?
  • What specifically are you holding onto?
  • What remains most unresolved for you about that (your answer to the previous question)?
  • What would it take for you to be able to move on?
  • How likely is that to happen (your answer to the previous question)?
  • If you moved on, what would you miss most that seems to be something you are holding onto?
  • How do you describe your continuing emotions about the situation and the other person?
  • If you moved on, with what feelings would you like to replace the current ones?
  • You might not be ready to move on or even want to. If that’s the case, why do you think that is?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?
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